Court cancels deportations of two Israeli-born kids and Filipina mothers
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Court cancels deportations of two Israeli-born kids and Filipina mothers

Tel Aviv judge says immigration authorities failed to hold hearings before signing off on expulsion orders

Illustrative: Israeli school kids, Filipino workers, and their children take part at a protest against deportation of children's of Filipino workers on the first day of school, outside the Balfour School in Tel Aviv, on September 1, 2019. (Avshalom Shoshoni/Flash90)
Illustrative: Israeli school kids, Filipino workers, and their children take part at a protest against deportation of children's of Filipino workers on the first day of school, outside the Balfour School in Tel Aviv, on September 1, 2019. (Avshalom Shoshoni/Flash90)

A Tel Aviv appellate court on Sunday canceled the deportation orders of two Israeli-born children of Filipina workers and their mothers.

In its verdict, the judge said the Population and Immigration Authority failed to properly hold a pre-deportation hearing to evaluate whether the expulsion order takes into account the best interests of the two children.

Maureen Mariano and her 10-year-old son, Ralph, as well as Gena Antigo, 13, and her mother Beraly, were released on bail on Friday, with each family depositing NIS 30,000 ($8,500).

The families raised the bail money from friends who study with the children at Tel Aviv schools, the Ynet news site reported. The four had been held at Ramle’s Givon prison.

On Thursday, hundreds of students, their teachers and parents protested outside the prison, calling for their release.

The four were reportedly taken into custody despite an understanding with the Interior Ministry that immigration authorities would not target children at or on their way to or from school.

Hearings had not been held for the children and their mothers.

The arrests came as part of the Population Immigration and Border Authority’s new crackdown on foreign workers who overstay their work visas.

Earlier this year, Israel for the first time ever deported Israeli-born children.

The deportation of foreign workers, whether by agreement or forced, has faced criticism, due to the impact it can have on their children who are born in the country, some of whom spend years in the Israeli education system.

Filipino workers and their children protest against their imminent deportation outside Prime Minister’s Residence, in Jerusalem, on June 11, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Regulations stipulate that female foreign workers who become pregnant must send their babies home, as a condition for their visas’ renewal. But many fail to do so and stay in the country illegally doing menial jobs, to give their children a better life than they would get in their home country.

Some 60,000 foreign caregivers — most of them women — are currently employed in Israel, according to the Hotline for Migrant Workers, an advocacy and rights organization. Half of them are from the Philippines, with much smaller numbers from Nepal (15 percent), India, Sri Lanka and Moldova (10% each) and the rest from various Eastern European countries.

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